book recs

Oct. 31st, 2015 07:39 pm
sophinisba: Kalinda in a black bra, orange neon sign says "HOT" (kalinda hot by winterfish)
Here is another weekend without a fanworks rec post from me, but also here are two books I've recently enjoyed:

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is a novel that takes place mostly some years after a flu pandemic wipes out most of the human race and civilization. Most people in North American survive in tiny little towns built up in places where there used to be businesses, and there's a group of actors and musicians that travels from town to town. There are also parts that take place before and during the pandemic but the focus is mostly on human relationships rather than science or illness or worldbuilding. I loved this book a lot!

I heard about The Turner House by Angela Flournoy just recently when it was nominated for a National Book Award. It's about a large black family in Detroit and takes place mostly in 2008 when they find out they owe more on their old house than it's worth, but also some in the 1940s when the father first moved Up North from Arkansas, plus some memories in between. Again, it's not heavy on plot so much as what the people in this family mean to each other, and they all felt so real and human. It reminded me a little of the TV show Treme with its large cast of characters who are all flawed but basically decent people trying to get by. Also an interesting and sad look at changes in some of Detroit's neighborhoods over the decades that made me want to learn more. (I might try reading The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit by Thomas Sugrue the next time I feel like reading a nonfiction book not for work.

In between Station Eleven and The Turner House I read another novel that I liked less, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I think I saw [personal profile] chaila say a while back that anything the publishers try to sell as "the next Gone Girl" will inevitably turn out to be disappointing and that's how this was for me, though it definitely kept me turning the pages. Nevertheless the next book I'm looking forward to reading is Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff, which is also being marketed that way (and also a finalist for a National Book Award).
sophinisba: Gwen looking sexy from Merlin season 2 promo pics (winter tree by liviapenn)
[personal profile] via_ostiense asked me about my favorite flavor of ice cream. If I had to choose one I'd probably say coffee, but I also appreciate strawberry, cookies and cream, and some other flavors. I used to go to Dairy Queen and get mud pie Blizzards, or peanut butter cup ones, those are awesome. But there aren't a lot of Dairy Queens near where I live now and I guess I haven't missed it much. Frozen yogurt is bigger around here and I've always thought fro-yo tasted kind of weird.

I'm not really into ice cream in general these days. I used to buy cartons and then it would stay in the freezer for months and months and get gross. B buys it and I'll have a little dish from time to time. I also used to really like gelato from certain fancy gelato places, but on the other hand never really got excited about the fancy local ice cream places that B and other friends of mine love. One of the flavors my friends get excited about is salted caramel and I can't stand that stuff, ugh.

And since it's a Wednesday let's do a quick reading meme. I finished Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver, continued to like but not love it. I read a pretty good chunk of Purple Hibiscus this week and just a little bit of Claire of the Sea Light, still haven't really gotten into that one. Then last night the ebook of Gillian Flynn's Dark Places became available through my library, so I expect to be reading that and nothing else for the next few days. Right now I'm about a quarter of the way through and pretty well engrossed, though so far I'm not enjoying it nearly as much as I did Gone Girl, which kinda ate up my life when I read it last year.

Oh, and I skimmed a library book called 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget which I'm pretty sure is just a compilation of blog posts from Wise Bread. It's pretty repetitive and silly but, you know, nice for glancing through, lots of lists of little tips for saving money on groceries, gifts, etc.


Dec. 8th, 2013 04:23 pm
sophinisba: Two young women picking flowers in Waterhouse painting. (Waterhouse girls by caerdroea)
[personal profile] veleda_k asked me to talk about a book that influence me. I'm finding this hard! I can think of a lot of books that made a big impression on me at the time that I read them but seeing the influence later is harder.

books )

Boo Sunday afternoon! As I explained the other day, Sunday afternoons and evenings are when I stress and get sad about not being ready for Monday. Something I forgot to say in that post is that B watches football on Sunday afternoons and evenings and yells at the TV, and it makes Sundays worse for me.

Oh well, feels good to get caught up on a meme at least!

Happy birthday, [personal profile] baranduin! I miss you and hope you are having a good day. Thank you for making this icon and for being so smart and honest and kind.
sophinisba: Gwen looking sexy from Merlin season 2 promo pics (fyff one day)
I hadn't read any fic in ages, but I had some insomnia Friday night and went looking around the AO3 and ended up with a really nice long X-Men WIP called Pantheon by [ profile] Yahtzee. It's a Roman slave AU mainly an Erik/Charles love story but also featuring Logan and Rogue and Emma and some other people. At the time I was reading over the weekend it was at four out of eleven chapters but the author just posted another one tonight, so it's now up to just under 50K and I have more achy sad fic to read while curling up with my cat and ignoring my other responsibilities tonight.

I also started another Erik/Charles fic, it's like one of us woke up by [personal profile] kaydeefalls the other day. It's a long canon-divergent AU and all Charles POV (Charles is my favorite) with peril and feelings and I'm enjoying that one a lot too.

I never really got into this fandom but now I feel all nostalgic for it. :) I guess there's another movie coming out next year and ... I can't even really say I'm looking forward to it because I kind of expect there to be a lot of disability fail along with the same kind of gross sexism and racism we saw in XMFC. But also James McAvoy's beautiful face! Feelings about found family and community! Erik and Charles and their doomed love! <3 <3

I've only read a few more pages of those novels I mentioned last week, Flight Behavior and Purple Hibiscus. Man, life is different when you're not traveling.

In other news, I am happy with my Festivids assignment. B suggested a song that I like a lot and we're planning on rewatching the source together soon. I have a bunch of ideas for treats I could make but I think making my official assignment plus one treat is a good goal to aim for (you know, after not making any vids all year).
sophinisba: Gwen looking sexy from Merlin season 2 promo pics (sinead suit)
I stopped watching House about a year and a half ago, I think, but I did use to like the show a lot and I'm interested in watching the finale. Can anybody tell me whether it stands up okay on its own or how many episodes before the end they'd recommend watching? I'd go for three or four of them but probably not the whole season.

links: finales discussions and podcasts )
sophinisba: Morgana smiling from ep 2.03 (morgana happy by gwy)
This has never come up so far, but just in case: if you ever happen to see people talking smack about me at an anon meme or under f-lock or whatever, please don't tell me about it. If you don't see people talking about me at the memes please don't tell me about that either. I really prefer not to know. Thanks!


Signups are open for round two of [community profile] chromatic_podfic! Let's participate the hell out of this fest, you guys! I feel like characters of color get even less attention in podfic than in fic, and that's really not very much.

podficcing! )


I can has a Kindle! For a little over two weeks now, though gosh it feels like longer - I am really reluctant to go back to paper books or reading long fics on my computer screen now (thank you so much to authors who post their fic, especially their long fic, at the AO3!!!!). a couple book and fic recs (Merlin and Merlin rpf) )

book meme

Aug. 13th, 2011 10:48 am
sophinisba: Wil and Ma from Saving Face watching TV (saving face by glass_icarus)
I have written most of a personal update type post. Maybe I will finish that sometime. Things are going well though!

Also I have started watching Mad Men (all four seasons available on Netflix streaming) and I love it.

Now here is that NPR SF/F book meme! This is a list of Top 100 Science-Fiction and Fantasy Books as voted on by more than 60,000 people at For the meme, strong the ones you've read, emphasis the ones you intend to read, underline the ones you've read part of, and strike the ones you never intend to read. (I'm not really bothering with the strike because I don't have strong feelings about most of the ones I haven't read, but I probably will not read them.)

a bunch of books mostly by white guys! )

I've been enjoying reading this meme and reactions to it on other people's journals and I liked Glen Weldon's explanation/commentary. (Glen is part of the NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour so it is is fun to imagine it in his voice - especially the line "Be a dude.") [personal profile] eruthros is starting up a top 100 speculative fiction works as chosen by people in fandom list, now in the nominations stage.
sophinisba: Gwen looking sexy from Merlin season 2 promo pics (gwen answer by redscharlach)
This icon and the one on my previous post are from this icon post by [ profile] redscharlach. Thanks to [personal profile] sally_maria for the heads up.

Now let's have a meme! This is not the fic year in review meme yet because I still hope to write more fic. :) I saw this on [personal profile] cereta's journal.

A year-in-fandom meme )

sophinisba: Wil and Ma from Saving Face watching TV (saving face by glass_icarus)
I just did my fandom nominations for Yuletide! Nominations close in a little less than two days, so if you're planning on participating and have your heart set on a particular very small fandom, this is the time to make sure it's available. However, even if you don't do nominations this week, you can still play in the challenge with the fandoms other people have nominated. There are LOTS.

I nominated four movies, a TV show, and a book: Treme, Keeping the Faith, Antônia, Leonera, Caramel, Kindred )

There's been some great activity at [community profile] dark_agenda this week encouraging people to nominate, request, and write for sources created by and starring people of color. Check out the comm and the Chromatic Yuletide Spreadsheet of Doom if that is also an interest of yours. They are also linking to promo posts so it could be a good place to find out about some new tiny fandoms. (I have been meaning for ages to do a post about Leonera and Antônia and haven't finished it yet. Maybe this weekend.)
sophinisba: Gwen looking sexy from Merlin season 2 promo pics (sunset by neosorbet)
30. Last week I got a $25 gift certificate for so I got to order three books for cheap, and they arrived in the mail today. Yay! I've been having a sort of stressful day on the Internet so I wanted to get away for a while, and my roommate suggested that rather than go somewhere else I just take a blanket out on the lawn and sit and read there for a while, and I did, and it was really nice, warm and sunny but with a nice breeze. I started reading Reza Aslan's book No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, and it is really good so far. (Claudia, I think you would like it!)

Also last night I made some brownies and they are delicious. And the party I brought them to was way more fun than I was expecting.

31. omg I finished the happiness meme! Finished both in the sense of "yay I did what I set out to do and stuck with it through the month" and also in the sense of "yay it's over!" I didn't enjoy it quite as much as last August and also don't think I did as good a job – like last year I did more posts of several paragraphs really explaining why I liked something – and I didn't enjoy it quite as much, but it was still fun. I don't know, I still don't think I'm a post-ever-day kind of girl but it has been sort of nice to have an excuse to post about random nice stuff. I don't know how August will be.
sophinisba: Gwen looking sexy from Merlin season 2 promo pics (frodo writing by nefithilwen)
I just read this article in The New Yorker about the history of writing workshops and creative writing courses in the United States and the question of whether good (or great) writing can really be taught. I wanted to point it out both for folks like [ profile] claudia603 and [ profile] gamerchick who've done writing workshops irl and also for folks like me who are just interested in writing.

I don't read The New Yorker regularly (I happened to follow another link to the website yesterday) but I do like listening to their fiction postcast. Once a month they have a famous author come in and read a short story by another famous writer from the New Yorker archives, and then the writer and the magazine's fiction editor Deborah Treisman chat for a few minutes about the story, about the author, about the reader's own work, and so on. Each podcast lasts about half an hour.

I go through phases when I only want to listen to music when I'm walking around the neighborhood or riding the bus, and others when I get really sick of my music and want to hear people talking, so I listen to a lot more podcasts and sometimes audiobooks. It's weird to think I've had my iPod for less than a year! I don't know how I held out without one for so long.
sophinisba: Gwen looking sexy from Merlin season 2 promo pics (frodo writing by nefithilwen)
I've really been enjoying the drabbling I've been doing for [ profile] writing_game this week. I think their rules work better for me than [ profile] fanfic100 and similar comms because there is a structure and an order (which keeps it from being, like, "Do whatever you want," which would lead to me not doing anything) but they allow you to switch fandoms periodically, which means I don't get sick of what I'm doing and it helps me get remixable in more fandoms quickly – not that I've ever seen anyone offer to write Children of Men at a remix. :) I get a nice feeling of accomplishment from getting points and moving through the game, which I think helps keep me from getting anxious the way I usually do about whether they'll get comments.

[ profile] remixthedrabble is going well, I think! A few people have already sent in their submissions and I've seen on a few people's journals that they're making progress. So far I've written two out of the three drabbles I signed up to write and I have an idea of what to do for the third. I have been a strict mod and sent back a 96-word submission as unacceptable! (Google Docs apparently has a wonkier word counter than Microsoft Word.) So far it's been fun. I suppose the stress will come right at the end when a ton of submissions are coming in at once and we find out how many defaulted. But I put in a few days' leeway before we need to start posting, and of course this is a pretty easy thing for a pinch-hitter to do quickly.

I did an f-list trim this morning. I'd never really done that before! I mean, I'd occasionally cut one or two people before but this was actually going through and like, tidying up, noticing the people who'd unfriended me without my noticing, and a couple people who've stopped posting or whom I haven't communicated with in years. I unjoined some communities. It felt kind of nice, to tell the truth. (But if you think I've made a horrible mistake by cutting you, do send me an e-mail and we'll talk.) I've also friended a few new people recently. *waves*

I've been trying to figure out what to do with my Dreamwidth account. I think I want to import my LJ there before I start crossposting, and I want to wait until the mass screening of imported OpenID comments thing is available before I import. Also, I want to wait until they offer some journal layouts I like or make customizing layouts really easy before I start using it a lot. For now though I've got a reading list and I read it most days. Maybe when I start crossposting from Dreamwidth I will quit crossposting to InsaneJournal.

I also have a Twitter account. I don't really "get" Twitter but I've been trying to use it more, so, you know, if you're very curious about what TV I'm watching any particular evening or whatever, there's that.

Another thing I use inconsistently is Delicious. For a little while there I was being sort of conscientious about bookmarking the awesome Merlin fics I was reading, but then I got lazy and now it don't usually think of it. If anyone would like to explain to me what a Delicious network is for and how to use it I would appreciate that. Maybe if I can think of it as a social thing I'll remember to do it more often.

I've fallen behind both with reading and reviewing for [ profile] 50books_poc! I'm up to 18 books now which is almost on track for doing 50 in the calender year, but I've only finished one book so far this month and I haven't reviewed that or the four I read in April. :( Anyway, Jackie Kay is awesome -- I just finished a book of her short stories called Wish I Was Here and I loved it, though not as much as her novel Trumpet, which I read in March. Am close to finishing The Golden Road, a memoir by Caille Milner, which is pretty good although not as good as I thought it would be when I was on the first chapter. I'm only a little way into Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father which is seriously great. I mean, I had heard it was well written and insightful and everything and we all know he's a smart man, but the writing is seriously beautiful and I'm enjoying it so much.


sophinisba: Gwen looking sexy from Merlin season 2 promo pics (Default)
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